Lenten Reflections 4th Friday of Lent: The Trap of Facts

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Lenten Reflections 4th Friday of Lent: The Trap of Facts

I men­tioned yes­ter­day that one of the most com­mented parts of the story of the prodi­gal son in Luke was the father deal­ing with the brother who admon­ishes him

He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I dis­obey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns who swal­lowed up your prop­erty with pros­ti­tutes, for him you slaugh­ter the fat­tened calf.’

Luke 15:2930

There is a trap in these words, and that trap is that the brother is fac­tu­ally cor­rect. His brother DID do all these things and yet his father is cel­e­brat­ing him.

It’s the same trap that hap­pens when the woman caught in adul­tery is brought to Jesus

They said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of com­mit­ting adul­tery. Now in the law, Moses com­manded us to stone such women. So what do you say?”

John 8:45

In both cases what is said is absolutely true. The son DID squan­der his father’s wealth, the woman DID com­mit adul­tery, and the law of Moses DID call for her to be stoned.

How many times do we do the same thing? How often do we see some­one at church and remem­ber the sins of oth­ers we see there, or gos­sip about the fail­ings of oth­ers or are offended at the sight of some­one get­ting being treated in a way their actions (known or per­ceived) don’t deserve?

When we do this we for­get one of the most basic of Jesus’ teach­ing from the Ser­mon on the Mount:

Blessed are the mer­ci­ful, for they will be shown mercy.

Mt 5:7

And when we for­get these words we fall into a trap one that Jesus explic­itly warned us about

But if you do not for­give oth­ers, nei­ther will your Father for­give your transgressions.

Matthew 6:15

So this lent when you’re tempted to con­demn some­one, even if they deserve it, never for­get this adage.

You will find Heaven no less glo­ri­ous nor Hell no more bear­able if you find your­self there with some­one that you never in a mil­lion years expected to see with you.

I mentioned yesterday that one of the most commented parts of the story of the prodigal son in Luke was the father dealing with the brother who admonishes him

He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’

Luke 15:29-30

There is a trap in these words, and that trap is that the brother is factually correct. His brother DID do all these things and yet his father is celebrating him.

It’s the same trap that happens when the woman caught in adultery is brought to Jesus

They said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?”

John 8:4-5

In both cases what is said is absolutely true. The son DID squander his father’s wealth, the woman DID commit adultery, and the law of Moses DID call for her to be stoned.

How many times do we do the same thing? How often do we see someone at church and remember the sins of others we see there, or gossip about the failings of others or are offended at the sight of someone getting being treated in a way their actions (known or perceived) don’t deserve?

When we do this we forget one of the most basic of Jesus’ teaching from the Sermon on the Mount:

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Mt 5:7

And when we forget these words we fall into a trap one that Jesus explicitly warned us about

But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.

Matthew 6:15

So this lent when you’re tempted to condemn someone, even if they deserve it, never forget this adage.

You will find Heaven no less glorious nor Hell no more bearable if you find yourself there with someone that you never in a million years expected to see with you.